National Economic Councils Abroad

August 8, 1931

Report Outline
Challenge of Soviet Five-Year Plan to Captilist Nations
The German Economic Council
The National Economic Council of France
Spread of Economic Council Movement Abroad
Italian National Council of Corporations
Czechoslovak Advisory Board for Economic Affairs
International Economic Planning
Special Focus

Challenge of Soviet Five-Year Plan to Captilist Nations

State Planning System of the Soviet Union

Proposals of a national economic plan for the United States and of some agency, such as a peace industries board or an advisory council, to devise an American plan and supervise its development, direct attention to the fact that several European countries have already created national economic councils. Most conspicuous among these is the State Planning Commission (“Gosplan”) in the Soviet Union, whose achievements in the socialization and mechanization of industry and agriculture have astonished the western world. Preoccupation with the Russian experiment has tended to eclipse interest in the less striking but significant innovations in Germany, France, Czechoslovakia, Italy, Great Britain, and other capitalist countries.

Collective planning by the western nations “to prove that capitalism is a superior system to communism” was proposed by Nicholas Murray Butler in his Paris address of June 11, 1931. Presumably such planning would be carried on through the joint effort of economic councils already in existence, plus an economic council in the United States.

Let me call your attention to the fact [Butler said] that the characteristic feature of the experiment in Russia, to my mind, is not that it is communistic, but that it is being carried on according to a plan in the face of a planless opposition. A man with a plan, however much we may dislike it, has a vast advantage over a group sauntering down the road, complaining of the economic weather, and wondering when the rain is going to stop.

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Aug. 08, 1931  National Economic Councils Abroad
Regional Political Affairs: Russia and the Former Soviet Union